Children's Dreams

The more you know about your children's dreams, the better you can help them learn to honour the dream messages they receive from an early age.

Children and Dreams

Sleeping Child According to dream research, REM sleep may be related to brain development.

Premature babies spend as much as 75 % of their sleep time in REM, as opposed to full-term newborns, who spend about 50 % of sleep in REM. Five-year olds spend 25 to 30 % of sleep in REM, while for teenagers and adults it’s about 20 %. In older adults (60+), this rate decreases to about 15%.

© Thomas Perkins |

The content of children’s dreams also change as they grow older. Young children often dream of animals, such as lions, tigers, snakes and spiders.

As they age they dream less of animals, until adulthood, when dreams of animals occur about 8 % of the time.

Bec's Dreams

Just this morning Bec, my 9-year old client, told me about a dream that she had last night: ’I was on a roller coaster and the carriage went faster and faster. I started to get worried because I was thinking of all the things that could go wrong. As we were going through a loop the carriage suddenly stopped and we just hung there in the air. I knew for sure we were going to fall. Then I woke up.’

This dream made perfect sense in the context of what I knew about Bec. She is in foster care and things aren’t going too well for her there. Every time Bec does something wrong in the eyes of her foster parents, they threaten to send her away. She lives in constant fear that her time with them is coming to an end and she has no idea where she would go or who would take care of her next.

When asked about a favourite dream, Bec told me that in her dream she was reunited with her brother and they were on their way to visit her biological mother (who had sadly passed away). They were walking through a field of flowers when she felt herself turning into a dragon with gigantic wings. She urged her brother to get on her back and found herself swooping through the air. She woke up with a feeling of great happiness.

Children can be taught from an early age to honour their dreams and nightmares as messages from the mind that can help them understand their feelings and figure out solutions to problems.

Encourage your child to try and remember their dreams and explore different meanings with them. Children usually enjoy making drawings of their dreams which can help them gain even more insight. Helping your child interpret their dreams will also give you an understanding of their needs, troubles, joys and fears.

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